Gangs Aff/Neg

Gangs kids drop out of school therefore aren’t ruining education

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Gangs kids drop out of school therefore aren’t ruining education

Clarke, staff writer, 2009 “School drop-outs graduating to gangs” accessed 7/6/09

Gang-related violence was responsible for most of the murders committed in 2008. Out of 545 homicides reported for the year, 365 were gang-related, Deputy Commissioner of Police Gilbert Reyes said yesterday, and officials were hoping that the figure would not reach 550 in light of last night’s New Year’s celebrations throughout the country. Therefore, 67 per cent of the 2008 murder toll was due to gang violence, he said. Reyes also said that at just 14 years, some children were leaving secondary schools, joining gangs and engaging in serious criminal activity. Reyes was speaking at a news conference at the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain, yesterday. “Kids are leaving the secondary school system...those who are unemployable are graduating to gangs,” Reyes said. “We are speaking about kids who are 17, 16 and 14, are gang members and doing serious criminal activities,” Reyes said. “The crimes are more violent and gangs become stronger,” he said. Reyes said the murder toll last year stood at 386, which had increased by 157. There were also 32 homicides which were reportedly drug-related. “It has increased especially in the Port-of-Spain Division...With all the police activity, we didn’t get the results that we wanted,” Reyes said. “We are looking to cut the supply of gangs because many children are leaving the school system and graduating into gangs,” Reyes said. He also mentioned a secondary school in the Port-of-Spain area in which many children were being influenced by gang activity. “A principal called me and expressed her problem,” Reyes said. He said it was a challenging year for law enforcement officers, with the increase in crime.

Neg- AT: Violence

Empirical Evidence Proves That Gangs Aren’t Responsible for High Occurrences of Violence

Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis, Justice Policy Institute, July 2007

“Gang Wars”, Justice Policy Institute,

Accessed 7/7/2009

There is no consistent relationship between law enforcement measures of gang activity and crime trends. One expert observes that gang membership estimates were near an all-time high at the end of the 1990s, when youth violence fell to the lowest level in decades. An analysis of gang membership and crime data from North Carolina found that most jurisdictions reporting growth in gang membership also reported falling crime rates. Dallas neighborhoods targeted for gang suppression activities reported both a drop in gang crime and an increase in violent crime during the intervention period. Gang members account for a relatively small share of crime in most jurisdictions. There are a handful of jurisdictions such as Los Angeles and Chicago where gang members are believed to be responsible for a significant share of crime. But the available evidence indicates that gang members play a relatively small role in the national crime problem despite their propensity toward criminal activity. National estimates and local research findings suggest that gang members may be responsible for fewer than one in 10 homicides; fewer than one in 16 violent offenses; and fewer than one in 20 serious (index ) crimes. Gangs themselves play an even smaller role, since much of the crime committed by gang members is self-directed and not committed for the gang’s benefit.

Neg- AT: Drug Trafficking

Gangs Do Not Control nor Dominate the Drug Trafficking Industry

Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis, Justice Policy Institute, July 2007

“Gang Wars”, Justice Policy Institute,

Accessed 7/7/2009

Gangs do not dominate or drive the drug trade. National drug enforcement sources claim that gangs are “the primary retail distributors of drugs in the country.” But studies of several jurisdictions where gangs are active have concluded that gang members account for a relatively small share of drug sales and that gangs do not generally seek to control drug markets. Investigations conducted in Los Angeles and nearby cities found that gang members accounted for one in four drug sale arrests. The Los Angeles district attorney concluded that just one in seven gang members sold drugs on a monthly basis. St. Louis researchers describe gang involvement in drug sales as “poorly organized, episodic, nonmonopolistic [and] not a rationale for the gang’s existence.” A member of one of San Diego’s best-organized gangs explains: “The gang don’t organize nothing. It’s like everybody is on they own. You are not trying to do nothing with nobody unless it’s with your friend. You don’t put your money with gangs.”

Neg- Racism Turn

Gang Abatement Act will inappropriately target poor children and children of color

Jeralyn E Merritt is criminal defense attorney in Denver representing persons accused of serious federal and state offenses. She served as one of the principal trial lawyers for Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City Bombing Case. She has served as Secretary, Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as well as on the ABA Criminal Justice Section Council and the Board of Governors of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, “Action Alert: Oppose S. 456, Feinstein's Gang Legislation Bill” June 1st 2007,, Accessed on July 7, 2009

The time is now to send your Senators a letter opposing Sen. Diane Feinstein's gang legislation bill, S. 456, the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2007. It will hurt our kids. Primary objections are: this legislation defines "gangs" and "gang crime" so broadly that it will drastically increase the number of children and youth who are inappropriately swept into the juvenile justice system -- especially poor children and children of color; this legislation places an extremely heavy emphasis on incarceration and punishment, and fails to support what we know really works to reduce recidivism: prevention and intervention; and his legislation unfairly and inappropriately targets undocumented individuals.

We must resist racism at every instance or else we risk extinction

Joseph Barndt, co-director of Crossroads, a multicultural ministry, 1991, Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America, p. 155-6

The limitations imposed on people of color by poverty, subservience, and powerlessness are cruel, inhuman, and unjust: the effects of uncontrolled power, privilege, and greed, which are the marks of our white prison, will inevitably destroy us. But we have also seen that the walls of racism can be dismantled. We are not condemned to an inexorable fate, but are offered the vision and the possibility of freedom. Brick by brick, stone by stone, the prison of individual, institutional, and cultural racism can be destroyed. You and I are urgently called to join the efforts of those who know it is time to tear down, once and for all, the walls of racism. The danger point of self-destruction seems to be drawing even more near. The results of centuries of national and worldwide conquest and colonialism, of military buildups and violent aggression, of overconsumption and environmental destruction may be reaching a point of no return. A small and predominately white minority of the global population derives its power and privilege from the sufferings of the vast majority of peoples of color. For the sake of the world and ourselves, we dare not allow it to continue.

Neg- Jail Overcrowding DA

Prisons are at maximum capacity and letting criminals free ensuring further crimes committed –

Daily Mail, February 2007, (“Prison overcrowding 'has led to 11,000 criminals going free'”, accessed online 07-07-09)

More than 11,000 serious criminals may be walking free because of softer sentences, according to Home Office statistics. However, the prison population has actually been held down to 80,005 which suggests 11,195 criminals who committed jailable offences have either avoided prison altogether or have been let out early. The Criminal Justice Act of 2003, billed as bringing in tougher sentences for violent and sex offenders, also introduced new "community orders" that promoted the use of non-custodial sentences, such as unpaid work and curfews. The fact the Government have imprisoned 11,000 people fewer than predicted shows that there are thousands of offenders who should be in jail but are walking free. "Not only will these people be free to commit more crime, they will have no chance of receiving any rehabilitation."

Overcrowding of prisons cause early releases of other prisoners—drug crackdowns prove

Dana Joel, The Heritage Foundation, November 15th, 1989 (“Time To Deal with America's Prison Crisis”, accessed online a.w.)

Increasingly in America, crime does not lead to punishment. While reported crime rates have risen by more than 24 percent over the last decade many convicted criminals serve only a small portion of their prison sentence behind bars or do not go to prison at all. Even those convicted of violent crimes typically serve only half their sentence in prison. And although as many as 83 percent of all Americans will be victims of a violent crime during their lifetime, some 55 percent of these crimes currently go unreported, and only 48 percent of reported crimes result in an arrest. Drugs have been the most important factor in the rising crime rate. From 1980 to 1986, the number of Americans convicted of federal drug law violations, including manufacturing, use, or distribution of drugs, jumped by 134 percent. In 1986, drug violations accounted for the sentences almost half of all state prison inmates. And over one-third of all pate prison inmates were using drugs when they committed their crimes.

Neg- Jail Overcrowing DA (Brink)

Prisons reaching point of overflow – sending criminals home is all that’s left

BBC News, BBC News, August 16th, 2006, (“Full jails spark 'early releases'”, accessed online 07-07-09)
The prison system is nearly full and has room for only another 700 inmates - hence plans to extend what is called the "transitional home leave" scheme. The scheme would not apply to sex offenders or violent criminals, but to "low-risk" inmates serving between four weeks and four years. Meanwhile, the Home Office said ministers were "seriously considering" the plan, but no decision had yet been taken, said the BBC's home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw. However, our correspondent said that with few other short-term options available, the plan was likely to get ministerial approval. The latest official prison population figure was 79,010, which means prisons are at bursting point.

Neg- Federalism DA Link

Federal Law enforcement against gangs violates federalism

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., is Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis and Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Executive Summary: Gang Crime: Effective and Constitutional Policies to Stop Violent Gangs, Heritage Foundation. June 6, 2007 accesssed June 6, 2009

Due to the public safety concerns posed by criminal gangs, Members of Congress have pro­posed expanding the national government's role in fighting crime, overshadowing what has been the traditional realm of state and local governments. They also advocate expanding current national government programs thought to address gang crime, even though little evidence suggests that the existing national programs are successful in gang prevention or suppression. The tendency to search for a solution at the national level is misguided and problematic. Fed­eral crimes should address problems reserved to the national government in the Constitution. Criminal street gangs are a problem common to all of the states, but the crimes that they commit are almost entirely and inherently local in nature and regulated by state criminal law, law enforcement, and courts. Members of Congress should affirm the proper division of authority between the federal govern­ment and the states in combating violent crime by reducing federal intrusions into state and local crime-fighting activities.

The Gangs Abatement Act violates constitutional precedent

Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst, and Brian W. Walsh is Senior Legal Research Fellow, in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation., The Heritage Foundation, “The Gang Abatement and Prevention Act: A Counterproductive and Unconstitutional Intrusion into State and Local Responsibilities”, September 17, 2007,, Accessed on July 7, 2009

Several times in recent Congresses, Members of Congress have proposed broad bills that attempt to federalize gang crime and to provide new mechanisms for spending large sums of federal money, under federal control, to fight gang crime in selected state and local districts.[2] The most recent examples of such legislation, the Senate's Gang Abatement and Prevention Act of 2007 (S. 456) and its counterpart in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1582), would: Create a host of new federal criminal offenses; Dramatically increase federal penalties for offenses the bills characterize as "gang crimes"; and Spend hundreds of millions of dollars—in the case of S. 456, at least $1.1 billion[3]—on new and expanded federal programs. Although the current version of the Senate bill states more precisely who can be indicted than did its immediate predecessor, the legislation would still invite serious constitutional challenges. Like its predecessor bills in the Senate and its House counterpart, S. 456 may, in many cases, unconstitutionally attempt to extend Congress's powers beyond the limits of the Commerce Clause.[4] The bill incorporates boilerplate language purporting to establish jurisdiction under the Commerce Clause but nonetheless disregards most of the constitutional structure underlying the state and federal criminal justice systems. Although inappropriate at the federal level, some of the Senate bill's proposals to criminalize gang activity might be good ones if made at the state level, where, as constitutional precedent has long held,[5] criminal law enforcement and crime prevention have traditionally (and most effectively) been handled.

The affirmative violates federalism which was put in place to protect the liberties of the American people

Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst, and Brian W. Walsh is Senior Legal Research Fellow, in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation., The Heritage Foundation, “The Gang Abatement and Prevention Act: A Counterproductive and Unconstitutional Intrusion into State and Local Responsibilities”, September 17, 2007,, Accessed on July 7, 2009

Violent street crime committed by gang members is a problem common to many states, so federal involvement may seem like a good idea. To warrant federal involvement, however, an activity must fall within Congress's constitutionally granted powers. There are serious reasons to doubt that S. 456 and H.R. 1582 do so. In the course of striking down provisions of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, the Supreme Court in 2000 affirmed the fundamental limits on the legislative power created by the Constitution: Every law enacted by Congress must be based on one or more of its powers enumerated in the Constitution. "The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the constitution is written."[6] This limitation on Congress's power to legislate is neither arbitrary nor accidental: It was adopted to protect the American people—including those suspected of criminal conduct—from the encroaching power of a centralized national government. As the Court stated, "This constitutionally mandated division of authority ‘was adopted by the Framers to ensure protection of our fundamental liberties.'"

The Supreme court as rejected attempts to federalize street crimes even ones that have some interstate impact

Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst, and Brian W. Walsh is Senior Legal Research Fellow, in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation., The Heritage Foundation, “The Gang Abatement and Prevention Act: A Counterproductive and Unconstitutional Intrusion into State and Local Responsibilities”, September 17, 2007,, Accessed on July 7, 2009

Although broader and broader readings of the Commerce Clause during the latter part of the twentieth century allowed the federal government to regulate more and more economic activity,[9] the Supreme Court has set limits and rejected several recent attempts to federalize common street crimes,[10] even ones that have some interstate impact. The expansive (many would say virtually unlimited) interpretation of the Commerce Clause employed to justify the creation of most new federal crimes ignores the original meaning of the Constitution. As Justice Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion in United States v. Lopez, if Congress had been given authority over any and every matter that simply "affects" interstate commerce, most of Article I, Section 8 would be superfluous, mere surplusage.[11] Lopez, the Supreme Court rejected the government's "costs of crime" and "national productivity" rationales for asserting federal authority over crime that is essentially local in nature. The government argued that violent crime resulting from the possession of firearms in the vicinity of schools affected interstate commerce by increasing the costs of insurance nationwide and by reducing interstate travel to locales affected by violent crime.[12] The government further argued that the possession of guns on or near school grounds threatened educational effectiveness, which would reduce productivity of students coming from those schools, which would in turn reduce national productivity.[

The gang abatement would increase federal intervention in the state criminal proceedings

Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst, and Brian W. Walsh is Senior Legal Research Fellow, in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation., The Heritage Foundation, “The Gang Abatement and Prevention Act: A Counterproductive and Unconstitutional Intrusion into State and Local Responsibilities”, September 17, 2007,, Accessed on July 7, 2009
In addition to duplicating state and federal criminal offenses that already exist, the bill also creates entirely new offenses that are overbroad. For example, S. 456 would prohibit "interstate tampering with a witness in a state criminal proceeding." This new criminal offense includes not only the use of physical force to retaliate or prevent a witness from testifying, but it also encompasses any non-physical attempt to "influence" a witness. Using or threatening physical force against any person, for any reason, is already a criminal offense in all states and should not be the basis for a new one. Duplicating this crime at the federal level would only increase federal intervention in state criminal proceedings. In addition, the broad definition of tampering or retaliation makes this a dangerous expansion of the federal criminal law. The word "influence" is vague and ambiguous and could be construed to include a wide variety of conduct that is not wrongful.

Not only does the affirmative violate federalism, but the most effective way to solve gang crime is adhere to the principles of federalism which turns case

Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst, and Brian W. Walsh is Senior Legal Research Fellow, in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation., The Heritage Foundation, “The Gang Abatement and Prevention Act: A Counterproductive and Unconstitutional Intrusion into State and Local Responsibilities”, September 17, 2007,, Accessed on July 7, 2009
The best way to combat gang crime is to adhere to the principles of federalism by respecting the allocation of responsibilities among national, state, and local governments. To address gang-related crime appropriately, the national government should limit itself to handling tasks that are within its constitutionally designated sphere and that state and local governments are not equipped to perform.[34]

Neg- Federal Overburden DA

Passing the affirmative plan would overburden the federal bureau of investigation and take away their focus and ability to investigate and prosecute foreign espionage and terrorism

Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst, and Brian W. Walsh is Senior Legal Research Fellow, in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation., The Heritage Foundation, “The Gang Abatement and Prevention Act: A Counterproductive and Unconstitutional Intrusion into State and Local Responsibilities”, September 17, 2007,, Accessed on July 7, 2009

S. 456 ignores recent decades' lessons on how to successfully reduce crime. New York City and Boston in the 1990s and early 2000s demonstrated that when accountability is enhanced at the state and local levels, local police officials and prosecutors can make impressive gains against crime, including gang crime. By contrast, federalizing authority over crime reduces accountability of local officials because they can pass the buck to federal law enforcement authorities. In addition, over-federalization results in the misallocation of scarce federal law enforcement resources, which in turn leads to selective prosecution. The expansive list of federal gang crimes in the bill would place significant demands on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorneys, and other federal law enforcers that would distract them from the truly national problems that undeniably require federal attention, such as the investigation and prosecution of foreign espionage and terrorism. The bill would create 94 additional Assistant U.S. Attorney positions, presumably to handle the increased work load that the new federal "gang crimes" in the bill would create. This dedication of resources not only diverts from more pressing needs that are truly federal, but constitutes legislative micromanaging of the executive branch's ability to enforce the laws.


Pacotti 03 [Sheldon,, March 31]
A similar trend has appeared in proposed solutions to high-tech terrorist threats. Advances in biotech, chemistry, and other fields are expanding the power of individuals to cause harm, and this has many people worried. Glenn E. Schweitzer and Carole C. Dorsch, writing for The Futurist, gave this warning in 1999: "Technological advances threaten to outdo anything terrorists have done before; superterrorism has the potential to eradicate civilization as we know it." Schweitzer and Dorsch are so alarmed that they go on to say, "Civil liberties are important for a democratic society; the time has arrived, however, to reconfigure some aspects of democracy, given the violence that is on the doorstep." The Sept. 11 attacks have obviously added credence to their opinions. In 1999, they recommended an expanded role for the CIA, "greater government intervention" in Americans' lives, and the "honorable deed" of "whistle-blowing" -- proposals that went from fringe ideas to policy options and talk-show banter in less than a year. Taken together, their proposals aim to gather information from companies and individuals and feed that information into government agencies. A network of cameras positioned on street corners would nicely complement their vision of America during the 21st century. If after Sept. 11 and the anthrax scare these still sound like wacky Orwellian ideas to you, imagine how they will sound the day a terrorist opens a jar of Ebola-AIDS spores on Capitol Hill. As Sun Microsystems' chief scientist, Bill Joy, warned: "We have yet to come to terms with the fact that the most compelling 21st-century technologies -- robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology -- pose a different threat than the technologies that have come before. Specifically, robots, engineered organisms, and nanobots share a dangerous amplifying factor: They can self-replicate. A bomb is blown up only once -- but one bot can become many, and quickly get out of control." Joy calls the new threats "knowledge-enabled mass destruction." To cause great harm to millions of people, an extreme person will need only dangerous knowledge, which itself will move through the biosphere, encoded as matter, and flit from place to place as easily as dangerous ideas now travel between our minds. In the information age, dangerous knowledge can be copied and disseminated at light speed, and it threatens everyone. Therefore, Joy's perfectly reasonable conclusion is that we should relinquish "certain kinds of knowledge." He says that it is time to reconsider the open, unrestrained pursuit of knowledge that has been the foundation of science for 300 years. " Despite the strong historical precedents, if open access to and unlimited development of knowledge henceforth puts us all in clear danger of extinction, then common sense demands that we reexamine even these basic, long-held beliefs."

Prevention Only C/P

Counterplan Text-

The United States Federal Government should provide for the implementation and execution of gang prevention and intervention policies. Funding and enforcement guaranteed

Observation 1- Counterplan competes through net benefits

Observation 2- We solve better

Crack Down Policies Empirically Fail, Prevention and Intervention Programs Are the Only Way to Solve

Celeste Fremon, Senior Fellow for Social Justice/New Media at the USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism. July 2007

“How NOT to Solve The Gang Problem”, WitnessLA, Accessed 7/7/2009
The good news, according to the research, is that there are strategies that have been proven to be effective. The bad news is that Los Angeles, long the gang capital of the world, is the model for how NOT to solve the gang problem. The report points out that, rather than put money and effort into gang prevention and intervention programs, LA county has spent the past several decades trying to arrest and incarcerate its way out of the problem—and has failed spectacularly. “Anti-gang legislation and police crackdowns are failing so badly that they are strengthening the criminal organizations and making U.S. cities more dangerous…..” writes the AP about the report’s findings. “Mass arrests, stiff prison sentences often served with other gang members and other strategies that focus on law enforcement rather than intervention actually strengthen gang ties and further marginalize angry young men…” And over at the NY Times’ editorial pages they write: It shows that police dragnets that criminalize whole communities and land large numbers of nonviolent children in jail don’t reduce gang involvement or gang violence. Law enforcement tools need to be used in a targeted way — and directed at the 10 percent or so of gang members who commit violent crimes. The main emphasis needs to be on proven prevention programs that change children’s behavior by getting them involved in community and school-based programs that essentially keep them out of gangs. Most of us who’ve been paying attention, have been saying as much for a long, long time, but lawmakers have insisted on pursuing the crack-down/lock-’em-up policy almost exclusively. “A 25-year anti-gang effort has cost taxpayers billions of dollars but has resulted in six times as many gangs and twice the number of gang members, because Los Angeles has not adequately funded social programs…” says the Washington Post of LA’s history of ill considered gang policy. Statistics show that youth crime in the United States is at its lowest levels in 30 years and that gangs are responsible for a relatively small share of crime. In addition, according to a national Justice Department survey of police departments, gang membership declined from 850,000 in 1996 to 760,000 in 2004. But occasional outbursts of violence prompt the media and politicians to seek immediate answers, said the report’s authors, Pranis and Judith Greene. “And it’s more about politics than it is about serious efforts to do something,” Greene said yesterday. “It’s frustrating to see officials come forward with money for mass arrests, when the money is so sorely needed in programs that are tried and true and can really work.”

Neg- Prevention Only C/P (options)

Gang Prevention Programs Include Community Involvement, Improving Conditions, and Prevention Programs.

James C. Howell, National Youth Gang Center, August 2000

“Youth Gang Programs and Strategies”, Institute for Intergovernmental Research Accessed 7/7/09

The history of gang intervention in the United States shows that early programs emphasized prevention (Shaw, 1930; Shaw and McKay, 1931; Thrasher, 1927, 1936). Prevention programs typically attempt to prevent youth from joining gangs, but might also seek to interrupt gang formation. A variety of strategies have been employed to prevent youth involvement in gangs, including community organization, improving conditions for youth, early childhood programs, school-based programs, and local clubs and afterschool programs.

A Multitude of Options Exist Towards Preventing Gang Violence and Formation

Mary H. Lees, Ph.D, Washington State University Human Development Department, 2008

“GANGS, Awareness, Prevention, and Intervention” Focus Adolescent Services Accessed 7/709

Youth gang involvement is not a new phenomenon in the United States.  Gangs have been known to exist in our country since the 18th-century.  Philadelphia was trying to devise a way to deal with roaming youth disrupting the city in 1791.  According to the National School Safety Center, officials in New York City acknowledged having gang problems as early as 1825.  The gang problem is not likely to go away soon or to be eliminated easily.  Here are a few gang-prevention strategies: The family and the community are essential to the development of the child's social, emotional, and physical needs.  If the family is the source of love, guidance, and protection that youths seek, they are not forced to search for these basic needs from a gang.  The family and community share responsibility for teaching children the risk of drugs. Strong education and training are directly related to a youth's positive development.  Young people who successfully participate in and complete education have greater opportunities to develop into reasonable adults. Graffiti removal reduces the chance that crimes will be committed.  Since gangs use graffiti to mark their turf, advertise themselves, and claim credit for a crime, quick removal is essential. Conflict resolution programs teach gangs how to deal better with conflicts and help eliminate gang intimidation tactics. Recreational programs such as sports, music, drama, and community activities help build a sense of self-worth and self-respect in young people.  Youth involved in such activities are less likely to seek membership in a gang.

Neg- Prevention Only C/P (solvency)

Community Based Gang Prevention Programs Solve – Philadelphia Proves

James C. Howell, National Youth Gang Center, August 2000

“Youth Gang Programs and Strategies”, Institute for Intergovernmental Research Accessed 7/7/09

Another community-based gang program that, like CAP, relies on indigenous community organizations was established much later. The House of Umoja began operating in Philadelphia during the 1970’s as a unique grassroots program initiated by community residents David and Falaka Fattah (National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, 1999; see also Woodson, 1981, 1986, 1998). Using their own resources and their home as a base of operations, they created this family-centered community institution that effectively mediated gang conflicts and came to serve as a source of counsel and individual development for neighborhood gang and nongang youth. The family model “provides a sense of belonging, identity, and self-worth that was previously sought through gang membership” (National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, 1999:59). Through reparenting2 and providing role models, the House of Umoja has “successfully transformed more than five hundred frightened, frustrated, and alienated young minority males into self-assured, competent, concerned, and productive citizens” (National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, 1999:16).

Los Angeles and New York City Show that Funding Suppression Tactics Fails to Achieve Goals of Lowering Gang Participation

Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis, Justice Policy Institute, July 2007

“Gang Wars”, Justice Policy Institute,

Accessed 7/7/2009

The history of failed gang strategies compiled by the Advancement Project for the Los Angeles city council in 2006 notes that Proposition 13 (the landmark tax reform measure enacted by California voters in 1978) resulted in virtual elimination of all of the city’s prevention and early intervention programs. Around the same time, the city began to construct its monolithic gang suppression machinery (Advancement Project 2006). In contrast, New York City has made considerable efforts to maintain an adequate level of city funding for youth services, recreation, and employment programs (Advancement Project 2007). To this day, suppression has remained the primary strategy to address Los Angeles’ serious, chronic problem of gang violence. The Advancement Project research team reports that more than two-thirds of the money available for gang reduction efforts is directed to suppression efforts by the LAPD and the city attorney’s office, with the largest portion invested in police “gang impact teams.” Los Angeles is well into the third decade of its failed “war on gangs.” Despite massive, militarized police actions, strict civil injunctions, draconian sentencing enhancements, and a gang database that appears to criminalize upwards of half of its young African American male residents, gang violence is worsening, according to media reports. With a reported 720 active gangs and 39,488 gang members, Los Angeles retains the dubious honor of being the gang capital of the world.

Local prevention programs have proved effective

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., is Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis and Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Executive Summary: Gang Crime: Effective and Constitutional Policies to Stop Violent Gangs, Heritage Foundation. June 6, 2007 accesssed June 6, 2009

State and local governments are the most appro­priate level of government to develop policies to prevent and suppress most gang-related crime because gang crimes are almost entirely and inher­ently local in nature. On the prevention side, Boys and Girls Clubs and multisystemic therapy have a track record of success in preventing delinquency and may be promising gang-related crime-preven­tion programs. For gang suppression, Boston's Operation Ceasefire demonstrated that a law enforcement strategy based on generating a strong deterrent to gang violence can make a difference.

Prevention and Intervention Programs Are Proven to Be The Most Successful Deterrent of Crime and Violence – Multiple Studies and Meta-Analysis Prove

Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis, Justice Policy Institute, July 2007

“Gang Wars”, Justice Policy Institute,

Accessed 7/7/2009

Although there is no clear solution for preventing youth from joining gangs and participating in gang-sanctioned violence, there are evidence-based practices that work with at-risk and delinquent youth, the same youth who often join gangs. Whether these programs work with gang members depends more on the individual youth than on whether he or she belongs to a gang. Evidence-based practices are practices that have undergone rigorous experimental design, have shown significant deterrent effects on violence and serious delinquency, have been replicated, and sustain their effects over a period of time. For example, an intervention like multisystemic therapy (MST) provides intensive services, counseling, and training to young people, their families, and the larger network of people engaged in young people’s lives through schools and the community. MST has been shown to produce positive results for youth and their families, including improved mental health and substance use outcomes, reduced recidivism, and improved educational performance. While the United States surgeon general has named only three “model” programs for treating violent or seriously delinquent youth—multisystemic therapy, functional family therapy, and multidimensional treatment foster care (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2001)—policy makers continue to fund and use hundreds of programs that either have not been adequately evaluated or have been evaluated and found to be ineffective or even harmful (Greenwood 2006). Peter Greenwood, former director of the RAND Corporation’s Criminal Justice Program and author of Changing Lives: Delinquency Prevention as Crime-Control Policy, warns that “delays in adopting proven programs will only cause additional victimization of citizens and unnecessarily compromise the future of additional youth” (Greenwood 2006). Studies have shown that evidence-based practices that work with violent and seriously delinquent youth are more cost effective and produce more benefits than traditional punitive measures. A recent study by the Washington State Institute of Public Policy reported lower recidivism rates and higher monetary benefits to taxpayers and crime victims when these “model” programs were administered instead of detention or unproven alternatives (Aos, Miller, and Drake 2006). Furthermore, a meta-analysis of juvenile intervention practices found that these evidence-based programs were more effective when they were implemented in community settings than when they were used in custodial settings (Lipsey and Wilson 1998). A report by the surgeon general found that “the most effective programs, on average, reduce the rate of subsequent offending by nearly half (46 percent), compared to controls, whereas the least effective programs actually increase the rate of subsequent offending by 18 percent, compared to controls” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2001). This reduction in recidivism leads to substantial monetary benefits to taxpayers (and emotional benefits to those who avoid being crime victims) equal to thousands of dollars per participant (Aos, Miller, and Drake 2006). Spending just one dollar on evidence- based programs can yield up to fifteen dollars in benefits to society, whereas more punitive approaches like detention and juvenile boot camps yield less than two dollars in benefits. Utilizing these programs for at-risk and seriously delinquent youth, including gang members, can substantially increase public safety while saving money.

Education programs solve

Hartnet 2008
[The Annihilating Public Policies of the Prison-Industrial Complex; or, Crime, Violence, and Punishment in an Age of Neoliberalism by Stephen John Hartnett, an Associate Professor of Speech Communication at U of Illinois]

In the days leading up to the U.S. Civil War, some abolitionists were called “gradualists” because they wanted to phase the slavery system out slowly, hence [End Page 510] ameliorating the political and social shocks that they feared would follow from freeing millions of slaves. Others were called “immediatists” because they thought the only way to end slavery was to abolish it in a stroke, cutting the rotten institution off at the roots once and for all. Today’s prison activists pursue a different course of action, for even those who call for abolition, like Angela Davis in Abolition Democracy, Abu-Jamal in Live from Death Row, and Meiners in Right to be Hostile, do so in terms that are less immediatist or gradualist than futurist. For example, Davis argues that abolition will “involve the shifting of priorities from the prison-industrial complex to education, housing, [and] health care” (89). In other words, “abolition” in the postmodern sense does not mean what it meant in the antebellum slavery debates. For today even the most ardent prison abolitionists understand that the state will need to provide facilities for housing repeat violent offenders. “Abolition” therefore does not mean the immediate and complete abolition of the prison system but its long-term radical transformation, its dramatic downsizing, its eventually being turned into something else.

For example, Davis argues in Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture that the immediate need is to “generate a conversation about the prospects for abolition” (74), hence beginning “a project that involves re-imagining institutions, ideals, and strategies” (75) for moving our democracy away from its love of imperialism and imprisonment and toward something more like equality and justice for all. The difficulty in arguing for abolition, then, is that shutting down the prison-industrial complex will require nothing less than a social revolution. The question is not only how to abolish prisons but how to reimagine a democracy that does not need such institutions. As Meiners argues in Right to be Hostile, working toward abolition means creating structures that reduce the demand and need for prisons. It is ensuring that communities have viable, at least living-wage jobs that are not dehumanizing. It means establishing mechanisms for alternative dispute resolution and other processes that address conflict or harm with mediation. It means ensuring that our most vulnerable populations, for example, those who are mentally ill or undereducated, do not get warehoused in our prisons and jails because of the failure of other institutions such as healthcare and education. It means practicing how to communicate and live across differences and to rely more on each other instead of the police.
The Plan doesn’t solve, but the CP does
Muhammad and Shabazz 2004
[Federal gang bill is ‘open warfare,’ says activist By Nisa Islam Muhammad and Saeed Shabazz Staff Writers Updated Sep 10, 2004]

While law enforcement officials are reporting a spike in street gang violence, law enforcement activists are lamenting funding cuts for gang programs in fiscal year 2005. According to Fight Crime Invest In Kids, a Washington-based non-profit think tank, the federal budget for anti-gang programs dropped 67 percent over three years. In a June story in The Washington Post, the think tank said that FY 2003 anti-gang funding was $547 million; dropped to $307 million in 2004, and is slated to drop to $180 million in 2005. “Instead of bills from the Senate, we need programs for intervention and prevention that gang members can trust, not more jail cells or laws that add another layer of criminality. These young people need skills training. I have had to shut down my office because they say there is no more for organizations, such as ours, that work in the streets,” said Mr. Dailey.  A successful example of gang reformation was celebrated last April, on the 10th anniversary of the historic signing of the gang truce initiated among four of L.A.’s most infamous housing projects. In 1992, when the city was on fire with riots and racial tensions, gang warfare had reached an unprecedented high, claiming approximately 1,900 lives. While a large faction of the city took to the streets rioting in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, former gang members were marching for peace through the volatile housing projects. “We used the peace treaty designed by Ralph Bunche between Egypt and Israel in 1949 as a model,” said Mr. Sherrills. Former gang members and chosen representatives from each housing project began to redraft the language of that peace agreement to fit the terms of their gang truce. It partly included the “United Black Community Code”—a list of do’s and don’ts for gang members with the stated purpose of “taking the necessary steps towards the renewal of peace in Watts and Los Angeles as a whole.” The code explains that, “No conflict of the land, that is, drive-by shootings and random slaying or any community representative organizations shall commit any warlike or hostile act against the other parties or against innocent civilians in the neighborhoods under the influence of that community representative (gang).” It took two years to broker the peace, which led to a significant decrease in violence among Black gangs in that area. According to statistics released by the LAPD every year, there was 502 gang-related deaths in 2003, over half the amount at the onset of the truce. “We know what works. Gangs are surrogate families. We have to preserve their integrity and instill morals and values in them. We must redefine the unwritten rules of the street, said Mr. Sherrills. “Gangs are at a crossroads. They will either become slave labor or legitimate entities.”

Neg-Prevention Only C/P (Politics No Link)

The American Public Prefers Prevention and Intervention Programs Over Incarceration

Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis, Justice Policy Institute, July 2007

“Gang Wars”, Justice Policy Institute,

Accessed 7/7/2009
Public opinion on the issue of rehabilitation versus incarceration for youthful off enders is mixed, but recent polls indicate that people are more willing to pay for rehabilitation programs than for longer prison sentences when the programs are proven to reduce crime. A 2006 poll of 1,500 Pennsylvania residents found that, given the option of using tax dollars for either rehabilitation or incarceration of young people in conflict with the law, the average person was willing to pay 21 percent more of his or her tax money for rehabilitation programs for delinquent youth than for increasing a young person’s length of incarceration (Nagin et al. 2006). Another recent poll of 1,300 U.S. households found that the average household would be willing to spend between $100 and $150 per year “for crime prevention programs that reduced specific crimes by 10 percent in their communities, with the amount increasing with crime seriousness” (e.g., robberies versus murders) (Cohen et al. 2004). The finding that taxpayers are willing to pay for prevention and rehabilitation programs is in contrast to the belief popular among politicians that their constituents are demanding more punitive responses to criminal activity.

Neg- States C/P

iCounteplan Text: The fifty states and the District of Columbia should


iiiThe 50 States could solve the Gangs Abatement Act better than the federal government because the vast majority of the crimes are local and not interstate. Erica Little is Legal Policy Analyst, and Brian W. Walsh is Senior Legal Research Fellow, in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation., The Heritage Foundation, “The Gang Abatement and Prevention Act: A Counterproductive and Unconstitutional Intrusion into State and Local Responsibilities”, September 17, 2007,, Accessed on July 7, 2009
Combating common street crime is a governmental responsibility over which the states have historically been sovereign, with little intervention from the federal government.[25] Federal criminal law should be used only to combat problems reserved to the national government in the Constitution.[26] These include offenses directed against the federal government or its interests, express matters left to the federal government in the Constitution (such as counterfeiting), and commercial crimes with a substantial multi-state or international impact.[27] Most of the basic offenses contained in S. 456 do not fall within any of these categories and so are not within the federal government's constitutional reach. For example, the fact that armed robberies committed by gang members may (rarely) involve interstate travel or some other incidental interstate connection does not justify federal involvement. In fact, the vast majority of prohibited conduct under S. 456 would almost never take place in more than one locale within a single state. Such conduct is, at most, only tangentially interstate in nature and does not justify federal intervention.




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